July 5, 2012
"“Clearly, apocalyptically minded authors have overstated the case” for globalization."

Pankaj Ghemawat is the author of Global 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It and the provocative article, The World Is Not Flat. He recently spoke at TEDGlobal to ask one important question: how global are we, really? And he was armed with stats to demonstrate that while borderless flatness may be quite the trendy meme, it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. For example:

  • What percentage of all voice calling minutes are international? Just 2%.
  • What is the current percentage of first-generation immigrants in the United States? Only 3%.
  • How much direct investment is international? Not quite 10%.
  • Calculate exports as a percentage of GDP? Less than 20%. 
Not quite the figures you might expect, huh? The TED audience was certainly forced to have a rethink of some by-now fairly hardwired ideas. And that, of course, is no bad thing.

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